Back in August, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced the formation of “work groups” to provide input as LARA adopts emergency rules to govern activities under the State’s new Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA). Organized around the MMFLA’s five license types, those work groups met last month. At today’s meeting of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, LARA unveiled summaries of the work groups’ recommendations.
- THC limits: labels should indicate THC mg per unit versus per package; if limits are set on a per package basis, should be 1000 mg, with dose size indicated.
- Security and safety protocols should be required.
- Product regulation: edibles should be shelf-stable and not require refrigeration; edibles should be tested to ensure safe consumption after 90 days in storage.
- Product remediation: if marihuana fails mold tests, the batch should be tested again; if it fails for pesticides, all of the batch should be rejected and destroyed.
- Labs should be licensed first to avoid bottlenecks as the system comes on-line.
- Pesticides: State should provide list of approved and unapproved pesticides.
- State’s capital requirements should allow buildings to count toward asset requirements.
- “Stacking” of multiple grow licenses: no consensus; some favored free market, others wanted protectionism for small growers.
Safety Compliance Facilities
- Mold testing should be modeled on some set of national standards.
- Quarterly quality assurance testing should be conducted.
- On-site testing should be allowed, with lab employees going to growers.
- Edibles should undergo long-term storage testing to establish expiration dates.
- Action should be taken against facilities that have product repeatedly fail tests.
- Daily purchase limits: 2.5 ounces flower or equivalent; perhaps a monthly limit.
- Packaging: labels should identify product, quantity, batch and lot number, allergens, expiration date, warnings and instructions. Should not be enticing to children.
- Training for employees should be required.
- Standards should address security and storage limits.
- Vehicles should have 360 degree camera coverage visible inside, lockable barriers that prevent driver access to cargo, shatterproof windows, and ability to notify law enforcement of emergencies.
- 24/7 operation should be allowed.
- Drivers should have flexibility to alter routes.
- The BIG debate: should drivers be allowed to carry firearms?
The recommendations above are obviously the tip of the iceberg; the work groups covered far more than was reported. LARA will now use these recommendations as the State develops emergency rules.
Going forward, it is unclear if the work groups will continue. The work groups were instituted by LARA because the MMFLA required the Governor to appoint an Advisory Panel by March 20, 2017, and Gov. Rick Snyder did not do so. At the time, the Governor’s office explained that the Panel could not be appointed because it must include representatives of different types of MMFLA licensees, and no licenses would be issued until sometime in 2018. The position of the Governor’s office changed, however, as just last week, the Governor announced appointments for the other specified categories. Those appointments include:
- Roseville Police Chief James Berlin, representing police.
- Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, representing sheriffs.
- Wayne County Director of Commission Affairs Alan Helmkamp, representing counties.
- Attorney for Michigan Townships Association Catherine Kaufman, representing townships.
- Medical director of Doc Greens Clinic Dr. Saqib Nakadar, representing physicians.
- Accountant Paul Samways of Cannabis Accounting, representing patients.
- Grand Rapids Planning Director Suzanne Schulz, representing cities and villages.
In addition to the above appointees, the MMFLA provides that the Advisory Panel must include the Attorney General and the directors or designees of LARA, Michigan State Police, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
As for the representatives of the MMFLA’s license classes, Gov. Snyder stated that he will appoint those members once licenses have been issued. Whether LARA will look to work groups for industry input in the interim remains to be seen.